Mar 16, 2012
I am employed as a phlebotomist and have been for more than ten years. Two years ago I was found to be HIV positive after a long illness that lead up to a hospital stay. I am currently working as a phlebotomist, could disclosing my status to my employer cost me my job? Do I need to inform patients or my employer of my status?
Response from Mr. Chambers
I see no legal (I'm not an attorney) nor moral need to inform your employer of your HIV status as long as you can perform your job duties safely. First, it is virtually impossible to transmit your blood to a patient when you are drawing his/her blood.If you had a needle stick before drawing blood, you would discard the needle for a sterile one. Once you have drawn the patient's blood, there is no real way you could then pass your blood into the patient's blood stream.
Second, by practicing universal precautions (wash, wear gloves, etc.) you are preventing transmitting your infection as well as protecting you from a patient's infection.
Finally, back to legal, it is my understanding that you are covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act, which prohibits job discrimination as long as you can safely perform your job duties. By practicing universal precautions, you are safely performing your job duties. You certainly should be more careful to make sure you are scrupulously following all universal precautions.
Good luck, Jacques
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